San Jose Sharks general manager gave director of player development Larry Robinson permission to speak with other teams before his contract expires on July 1, according to the Montreal Gazette’s Stu Coawn. Robinson does not want to coach behind, but wants to continue to work as a consultant and with young defensemen, Cowan wrote in his column.
Robinson, a two-time Norris Trophy and six-time Stanley Cup champion during his Hall of Fame playing career, worked with the Sharks for the previous five seasons. He spent the first three seasons as an associate coach, but spent less time behind the bench in his third season in 2014-15.
Since then, Robinson has worked in the front office out of his Florida home, and made some trips to San Jose to work with the organization and its young players. He also vouched for the team’s hiring of current head coach Peter DeBoer, who he coached with in New Jersey before coming to San Jose.
Robinson joined the Sharks originally to be closer to his grandchildren in Southern California, but Robinson told the Mercury News in 2014 that “[i]t hasn’t really turned out the way envisioned,” in part because of the challenges presented by the effects of a lockout and the Olympics on the team’s schedule in his first two seasons.
Donnie Cape, Robinson’s agent, told Cowan that the long travel from Robinson’s Florida home to San Jose is a major reason why he’s looking for a new team.
“We’re looking for something that’s going to make him comfortable,” Cape told Cowan. “He doesn’t want to go behind the bench, but we will listen to what anybody has to say.”
Robinson’s last three seasons in San Jose coincided with Brent Burns’ transition back to the blueline and his emergence as an elite defenseman. While Robinson was not with Burns day in and day out, the Hall of Famer’s influence on Burns and the rest of the blueline will be missed.